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Munis-nāma

Friday, November 18, 2022 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM | Online on Zoom


Munis-nāma: A 12th Century Persian book of Wisdom and Advice for Female Elites

What do ‘folk’ tales have in common with mystical treatises and advisory literature? And why did the learned author of the Mūnis-nāma decide to compile these seemingly unrelated literatures in one work for his educated, elite audience? Compiled by Abū Bakr b. Khusrau al-Ustād and dedicated to the Eldigüzid atabeg of Azerbaijan Nuṣrat al-Dīn Abū Bakr (r. 1191–1210), the Mūnis-nāma blurs the lines traditionally drawn between Persian “folk” and “elite” literature and provides a fascinating source for studying the two realms as parts of a larger whole. In this lecture, Dr. Askari discusses the possible logic of the compiler in the organization of the seventeen chapters of the work and draws attention to the literary and historical value of the Mūnis-nāma for scholars of Persian and Ottoman Turkish literature, folklorists, historians, and sociologists.

Nasrin Askari is the author of The Medieval Reception of the Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes (Brill, 2016), which won the World Award for Book of the Year in Iran. She is currently a research fellow and translator at the University of Birmingham, working on the Persian segment of the ERC-funded project “Global Literary Theory: Caucasus Literatures Compared” (Grant agreement no. 759346). She has taught courses on the Shāhnāma, Classical Persian Literature in English Translation, History of Iran, and Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema at the University of British Columbia and University of Toronto. Her critical edition of the Mūnis-nama was published in May 2022 by Dr. Mahmud Afshar Foundation in Tehran.

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